I never owned my own Nintendo console as a child (poor, deprived kid that I was), and so my experiences playing classic NES games were sadly limited to whenever my buddy Kevin came over and brought his system with him, or I went to his place. It’s kinda tragic, but I missed out on a lot of those classic games. I never played Zelda as a kid. I played, but never finished, Super Mario Bros. Not long after the NES, Sega released the Sega Genesis and I managed to acquire one of my own, so really most of my childhood console video games were Sega games like Sonic the Hedgehog or Streets of Rage. But today is the NES’s 25th birthday, and so I am dedicating this list to that handful of NES games that I did play, and loved ever so dearly.
Happy birthday, Nintendo Entertainment System!
5. Duck Hunt
I’m a sucker for light-gun games, and Duck Hunt was the original. The stupid dog didn’t even annoy me, so long as I got to shoot those little pixellated ducks.
This was one of the few NES games I actually got to finish, as Kevin and I basically dedicated an entire day to finishing it. Man, what a fun game.
3. Double Dragon
I’ve always loved side-scrolling beat-em-ups, and this was one of the founding entries in the genre. Just fight scene after fight scene, again and again and again. Back in the old NES days, there were only two buttons and very little in the way of combos! I can’t believe my attention span was ever that long.
2. River City Ransom
Another side-scrolling beat-em-up, and one of the very first games I ever remember playing. The original NES didn’t handle resolution changes very well, and I actually remember that the TV I played this on was so small that I couldn’t see the text at the bottom of the screen.
1. Super Mario Brothers 3
I know that Super Mario Bros. was the first brick in the immense monolith that is the Mario empire, but Super Mario 3 was way more fun, in my opinion. With all its cool power-ups like the Super Leaf and the Hammer Suit, this was the first Mario game I remember getting totally addicted to.
Frogs have always been my favourite animals, and since side-scrolling beat-em-ups were my favourite kind of games when I was a kid, Battletoads was an instant favourite of mine. I know, I know, they were essentially a Ninja Turtles rip-off, but I was a fan of Battletoads first, and Rash, Zits and Pimple will always hold a special place in my heart.
Monster League Football/Hockey
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Super Mario Brothers